Anchorage Assembly seeks to audit disgraced former health director Joe Gerace’s tenure

Anchorage's acting health director Joe Gerace speaks with journalists inside the Sullivan Arena shelter
Anchorage’s acting health director Joe Gerace takes journalists on a walkthrough tour of the Sullivan Arena shelter on Nov. 1, 2021. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage Assembly is working to schedule an audit of former health director Joe Gerace’s tenure. Gerace resigned in August shortly before an article from Alaska Public Media and American Public Media was published that showed he fabricated many parts of his resume. 

The request for an audit comes from Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance. During an Assembly Municipal Audit committee meeting Thursday, LaFrance said she wants the audit to review Gerace’s work as health director. 

LaFrance listed examples that include “documents that were signed, disciplinary actions that were conducted, grants that were administered, contracts executed and policies enacted.”

READ MORE: Anchorage Assembly looks into vetting future mayoral appointments following health director’s fabricated resume

Member Felix Rivera, who chairs the audit committee, echoed LaFrance’s concerns, noting the strict requirements for grants dealing with the federal Office of Housing and Urban Development, as well as FEMA. 

“We’ve been talking a lot about FEMA,” Rivera said. “And so I want to make sure that anything that Mr. Gerace touched with regards to FEMA, that that was all kosher.”

Anchorage Internal Audit director Michael Chadwick was at the committee meeting. He says the auditing department has a large workload, and it’s unlikely the audit could be started before next year. 

“We do have a full audit schedule,” Chadwick said. “Having a third party look at this is an option. I think it’s a good option.”

Municipal manager Amy Demboski says the administration welcomes an audit from the internal audit department, and agreed that waiting until next year could be beneficial. 

“I think it would be most appropriate if we let 2022 close and we put this at the top of our list,” Demboski said. “Let’s identify things in the health department that we potentially want to have a specific audit for when the year closes, so we can get a comprehensive review of the entire year.”

In the meantime, Chadwick says his department can begin scoping out contracts, grant agreements and other documents to determine what could be the most important items to look into when the full audit begins. 

[Sign up for Alaska Public Media’s daily newsletter to get our top stories delivered to your inbox.]

Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at

Previous articleNOAA asks Alaskans for help Saturday in annual Cook Inlet beluga count
Next articleWestern Alaska residents urged to brace for what could be one of the worst storms in recent history